A candidate to become mayor of Rome on Monday promised that he would issue same-sex civil unions in the city, if he is elected.

Ignazio Marino of the Democratic Party, who is a Senator and a surgeon, made the announcement on Monday, during which he said: “Diversity is a resource.”

He went on to say that he and his administration would go further, to introduce school programs to educate children on gay rights, reports Ansa.

Marino is to run against centre-right mayor Gianni Alemanno, Marcello De Vito, a candidate of anti-establishment 5-Star Movement  and businessman Alfio Marchini.

The elections will take place on 26 and 27 May.

Italy does not currently legally recognise any kind of same-sex unions.

The gay governor of Italy’s Puglia region, Nichi Vendola, recently said that he is afraid to go out alone at night in Rome. 

The openly gay Italian Governor also said that he would like to have the “right” to get married to his partner in front of his “community and family.”

Last week, less than 24 hours after being sworn in as a member of Italy’s new coalition government, a junior equalities minister was removed from her post for saying that gay people invite discrimination by “ghettoising” themselves.

Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said in January that he opposes same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gay people.

Berlusconi claimed in December that his opponents had accused him of everything “except being gay and stealing money from Italians.”Prior to that, in March 2011, Mr Berlusconi declared that gay couples in Italy would never be allowed to marry or have adoption rights.